For now at least, there's a choice of two petrol engines: a three-cylinder 1.0-litre and a four-cylinder 1.5, although a 1.6-litre diesel will follow later in 2017, as will a hot Type R version.
The 127bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine is all you really need; it delivers perfectly adequate acceleration from low revs and will complete the 0-60mph dash in around 10.5 seconds. However, despite having more power than the equivalent 1.0-litre versions of rivals such as the VW Golf and Audi A3, the heavier Civic is actually slightly slower than those rivals.
The 1.5 is unsurprisingly faster and has more low-down pulling power, too – although it doesn’t actually feel drastically quicker on the road. Given that it's also quite a bit less efficient, we wouldn't bother spending the extra.
Honda Civic ride comfort
The Civic doesn't ride as smoothly as a VW Golf (few cars do), but it's actually pretty comfortable by class standards. All trims apart from EX, Sport Plus and Prestige have regular 'passive' suspension, and this delivers a largely settled ride that doesn't get caught out too badly by potholes. Even so, it's best to resist the tempation to add optional 18in alloys.
Meanwhile, the posher trim levels ride on adaptive dampers, which means you can stiffen and soften the suspension at the touch of a button. Bumps are dealt with suitably well in the softer setting, but switch to the firmer mode and you feel too much of road imperfections as they pass beneath the car.
Honda Civic handling
Broadly speaking, the Civic handles well by family car standards. It doesn't grip the road quite as well as, say, a VW Golf but it stays upright through tight twists and turns and steers precisely.
However, tackle a corner with any vigour and you’ll wish the steering weighted up more consistently to help you gauge how well the front tyres are gripping. That's the main reason the Civic isn't as fun to drive as a Golf, a Ford Focus or an Audi A3.
Around town, the Civic is relatively easy to manoeuvre, although it does have a slightly larger turning circle than some of its rivals.
Honda Civic refinement
While the Civic’s 1.0 petrol engine is a reasonably strong performer, it isn't as refined as we'd like; it's a bit raucous when you work it hard and sends a few too many vibrations through the soles of your feet. Put simply, 1.0-litre versions of the Golf and A3 are noticeably smoother and quieter.
The 1.5 petrol engine is more restrained, remaining quieter and smoother when you put your foot down, although it does begin to sound strained if you rev it really hard. Honda's six-speed manual gearbox is light and positive, although the brake pedal is a bit spongy.
Road and wind noise at motorway speeds is noticeable, too. There isn't enough to really annoy, but the rival Golf and Focus are considerably more peaceful cruisers.
The 127bhp 1.0-litre petrol engine is worthy of praise, being gutsy when you rev it hard, yet pulling eagerly from low revs. It’s our pick.
1.5 VTEC Turbo
The 1.5 has more power and torque than the 1.0, but while it is clearly quicker on paper, it doesn’t actually feel drastically quicker on the road. It also uses more fuel and emits more CO2. We’d avoid it.